Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Online textbooks

Online textbooks

To me, this is a mixed bag feeling. On the positive side, I am always up on trying new ways of presenting information to students instead of totalling relaying on the traditional textbooks. There is so much information out there on a specific topic plus the information is always changing, particularly in the sciences. However, on the uncertainty/negative side of this issue, printing out the pdf files from a textbook can be quite expensive. This would cost the student tons of money. For instance, the printing could cost anywhere between $0.05 to $0.20 per page depending on if the page is printed in black and white or in color. Also, it would be a huge paper usage. A high school science textbook usually has about 500-600 pages. So, if the student printed out every page...the total cost for one textbook could range between $25/$100 to 30/120 (depending on if the pages are printed in black & white or in color). After the term or school year is over, what happens to all of the pages used? Thrown in the trash or recycled?

tutoring in the mornings at schools

Tutoring in the mornings at schools

As of right now, there are only four states (Alaska, North Carolina, Indiana, and Virginia) that allow low-income students early access to schools for tutoring. It can do one or two things, either help these students to catch up with their peers or help them on their homework. When these two students go home in the evenings, they rarely get a chance to complete their homework assignments. Tutoring services are provided by private companies approved by the state Department of Education. Tutoring can take place before or after school. Some tutors meet with small groups of students; others work with individual students in their homes. Some providers even offer online tutoring. The online tutoring may be difficult for these students to obtain due to their limited living income.

Hopes for science

Hopes for science

Can testing between science back after it has been ignored by mathematics and reading? In the past 6 years, elementary and middle schools has considered science to be unimportant in hopes to raise reading and mathematics test scores. This is a shame because reading and mathematics can play a role in sciences. These two subjects do not leave once a student either goes to another class or the teacher switches to another subject in the classroom. When a student makes a calculation during a laboratory assignment, that is mathematics. Also, while a student reads their textbook or directions on an assignment, that is reading.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Help from TV for mathematics problems

TV and Mathematics problems

This is an interesting idea on how to teach mathematics. Students can e-mail or call people that run "Count on us" for help on mathematics problems. Sometimes it helps the student see on how to solve a math multiple times in order to learn how to solve similar types of problems. The first hour is aimed at elementary school math; the second half is for middle school math. Unfortunately from the article, the level of math is not much higher than 8th grade math, which in unfortunate. I feel that watching someone solve a mathematics problem can benefit high schoolers too. Hopefully in the future, the level of math on this show would extend into high school level.

Varying state standards

None of the state standards are relatively similar to one another

Reading vs. mathematics standards

schools aim too low

It is amazing that no state has similar standards in terms of the state reading and mathematics exams. Even though NCLB is a national act, the states determine on how they want to run their educational systems. Each states sets its academic standards and designs its tests and scoring methods, including the required number of points to pass a test – called a cut scoreI wish that they can agree on common grounds on what is passing on the state exams. In this way, it might be easier to compare states in terms of how much progress they are making on a yearly basis. Also several reports indicate that reading standards are much lower than the mathematics.

For instance:

  • In reading, Colorado, Wisconsin and Michigan generally had the lowest proficiency standards.
  • The highest standards in reading were found in South Carolina, California, Maine and Massachusetts.
  • In math, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were cited as having the lowest proficiency standards.
  • The highest math standards were found in South Carolina, Massachusetts, California and New Mexico.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

teachers and microphones

Save your voice

According to this article, teachers in France have found that they damage their vocal cords due to trying to talk over noisy classrooms. As a result, they are encouraged to use microphones in save their vocal cords. I wonder where I can get a small microphone to use a classroom because I am pretty soft spoken. Sometimes it is difficult to hear me if a student is talking while I am talking. This unfair to everyone.

Poor rural districts in CO on top in terms of reading scores

We can do it

Most people believe that if you live in a poor school district, the students would not be able to perform well on state reading tests. In most cases, this might be true. However, there are several poor rural school districts in Colorado did the exact opposite. In these 5 school districts, the fourth graders out-scored students in Denver and Colorado Springs. Every teacher and administrator in these poor rural communities helped the students achieve to the best of their ability. This shows that if there is a will, there is a way.

how difficult are the standardized exams

Testing the standard

This above article indicated that students are expected to learn tons of information while they are in school. To determine how adults would perform on a sample standardized exam, they asked 6 professionals of various educational backgrounds to take the exam. The majority of them got somewhat frustrated with the sample test. I took it online and it was not terribly bad but it was no walk in the park. Out of the 35 questions, I missed only 7 of them.

Parents and online credibility

The Internet can be a powerful tool in terms of getting important information. However, there are websites that are not useful to be used for a term paper or a project. According to some recent surveys, parents feel that teachers need to teach students on how to evaluate websites for their credibility. This can be tough to do because the teacher needs to know how to evaluate websites in order to teach the strategies to the students. Evaluating websites can be time-consuming because the online user has to know what to look for, which takes many hours of practice. Also, there are some teachers that do not like to use online material in the classroom, which would mean that they would reluctant on teaching students how determine the credibility of a website.